What is Soothing rhythm breathing?
Soothing rhythm breathing is a simple exercise to reduce stress or anxiety and help you feel more calm.
As NHS Neuropsychology professional Dr A Webster explains: “When you become anxious, your breathing becomes fast and shallow ‘chest breathing’.
“This can cause you to inhale too much oxygen and become dizzy and light-headed. Instead, you need to breathe slowly and deeply, which turns off your ‘stress response’ and switches on your ‘relaxation response.’
“The most important thing is that you find a style and rhythm of breathing that feels calming and soothing to you.
“So experiment with the length of breaths, whether you breathe through your nose or mouth, and so on, to find the approach that works best for you.”
There is no set method for soothing rhythm breathing – you can’t get this wrong. It is about finding a pace of breathing that is comfortable and relaxing for you.
But if you’re in need of a bit of guidance, here is how I practice:
- Sit upright in a chair in a comfortable position
- Begin by breathing in through the nose until your lungs fill, then gently exhale through the mouth
- Continue until you find a rhythm that feels comfortable for you
- Gently do this, giving attention to the breath as it enters and leaves the body
- I expect your mind will wander and that is normal, but when this happens, simply turn your attention back to the breathing again
- You can start by doing this for a minute or two and you can build on this as you become more used to the practice
- To help sooth you, maybe try imagining a colour as you breathe in
- I like green for example, as it reminds me of peace and tranquillity